Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hunger strike update

I'm relieved to report the hunger strike has ended, although I wouldn't have known by the way Miss M kept eating all night. I guess she had a lot of milk to catch up on. Our daycare provider said she rejected the bottle at first, but then she put a blanket between them so the baby couldn't see her. Voila, she ate.

I wonder how long that trick will work.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hunger strike

After three weeks at daycare with no problems, Miss M decided to go on a hunger strike. Friday she was sent home because she wouldn't take a bottle, and our provider thought she was sick. Of course, as soon as she got home, she took a bottle from dad, no problems. The weekend was also pretty routine, although we did brave the mall crowds Saturday. Turns out, if you have to step foot in the mall a week before Christmas, 8:30 Saturday morning is a pretty good time to do it. We got in, got around, and fed Miss M in the Sears dressing room before heading home. She didn't nap a lot, but that's normal at home. (We're not sure how our provider gets her to sleep so much at daycare.) Then yesterday, she again refused the bottle. Five times. When I picked her up, she hadn't eaten a thing, and our provider said she cried the entire time she was awake. (Two 45-minute blocks.)

I'm at a loss. She nurses normally, and still takes a bottle from dad. In fact, we fed her one of the bottles she refused yesterday, so we know there wasn't anything wrong with the milk. Nothing's changed, except her desire to eat at daycare. What gives?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Three months

Today my baby girl is 3 months old. I can't believe it's already 3 months, and yet, I also can't believe it's only been 3 months.

When I was 3 months and 3 days old, I was put on a plane with a stranger to be flown halfway across the world and handed off to another stranger. I don't know how else to say this — it haunts me lately. I look at my baby and I wonder, how could anyone part with something so precious? And then I wonder, how would my baby handle it if she were handed off to strangers tomorrow? Here I have spent three months trying hard to ensure a stable, loving environment for her. I worry about sleep habits and eating routines. I worry about leaving her at daycare so long. Will she remember me? Will she feel abandoned? Does she know who her mommy and daddy are? I want her to feel secure and safe and loved.

A shrink once said to me, upon my sharing I was adopted, "How traumatic that must have been for you." At the time I thought she was full of it. (She was my second-least-favorite of all the therapists I've seen.) I mean, I was just a baby. I turned out fine. How can a baby be traumatized at 3 months? But now I realize new parents are inundated with books that emphasize specific parenting habits from the moment a child is born. Does any of this matter?

It makes me sad to imagine how my baby would feel if I abandoned her tomorrow. I need to believe she loves me as much as I love her. But I guess I don't know. I love my husband dearly, but he doesn't understand why I think about this stuff. Heck, I don't understand why. But I do, on days like these. Maybe one day I will go back to that shrink and she will tell me why these thoughts go and come and go again ... and why I am so desperate for my baby to love me as much as I love her.

There are so many things to love about Miss M. Among them:

  • Her crazy kicking legs
  • Her deep breaths when she gets excited
  • Her coos
  • Her sour milky breath
  • Her sweet baby smell
  • Her chubby hands that look like mine
  • Her gummy smiles
  • Her expressive eyebrows 
  • Her little mouth chewing and sucking on her big fists
  • Her pouty mouth, and her little line mouth (aka "the no-more-milk mouth")
  • Her neck rolls ... and wrist rolls, and thigh rolls
  • The way she smiles after spitting up
  • The way she smiles when I wake her
  • The way she peers out of the little hole in her carseat cover, like "Where are we going?"
  • The way her fists come together but can't grasp anything yet
  • The way she gets excited when she realizes I'm getting ready to nurse her
  • The most peaceful expression on her face when she sleeps
It makes me want to snuggle her. But that's one thing she's not so great at. She'd rather see what else is going on. It's heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Miss M goes to daycare

I got my first newsletter today. Yes, our daycare provider, who has only 3 clients (she also cares for her own two daughters), apparently puts out a newsletter. One more reason for me to like her. Here's an excerpt:
Baby M had her first day last week. She is beautiful and as sweet as can be and we are all happy to have a new little one to our group. The big kids did a great job practicing gentleness with her and she seemed to enjoy watching the kids play.
Being such an expert, I couldn't agree more that Miss M is as beautiful and sweet as can be :) And it makes me smile to think of the other girls "practicing gentleness" with her. It's like she has 4 big sisters. I guess that almost makes up for her mother going back to work.

Speaking of work, I have to admit, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. I've put in a few partial days so far -- we are trying to fill that open position, and it's been nice to slowly transition back. Next week I'll do three full days, and the following week I'll be back every day.

My feelings have yo-yo'd all over the place. On one hand, it feels good to be back in the professional proverbial saddle. It feels good to shower, and put on make-up and real clothes for the day. And I feel very lucky to have found our daycare provider -- she is, so far, a perfect match, and is certainly more experienced at mothering than I am. Yet she is so respectful of how and what we want her to do, I haven't felt at all threatened by or jealous of her. Yet.

On the other hand, life in the cocoon of Miss M is pretty easy. I don't have to solve other people's petty problems. I don't have to put on make-up or tear through my closet trying to find something that fits my post-partum body. And I don't have to swallow my jealousy when another woman witnesses my baby's milestones first.

It comes down to this: When I'm here, at home, I just want to stay here. But when I'm there, it's not so bad. I have so much to be thankful for, and going to work actually helps me see that more clearly.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Love and licorice

I wrote an entire entry this morning ... in my head, while showering. Unfortunately, my brain has lately been more of a sieve than a steel trap. And that's too bad, because it was a really good train of thought. At least, I think it might have been. I can't remember.

Anyway, I just ordered 6 boxes of licorice-flavored tea online. (Amazon Mom has pretty sweet deals.) I despise licorice. Especially black licorice, which is pretty much what this stuff tastes like. I've always hated grabbing what I thought was a grape jelly bean (my favorite!) only to discover mid-chew that it was licorice. I used to spit them out. OK, I still do.

But I sure do love my baby girl. And this stuff really does increase my milk supply.

Now, if only someone could invent Mother's Brain Tea. Preferably in a fruity flavor, but it probably wouldn't matter. I'd drink it if it was good for Miss M.

Wardrobe dysfunction

So, it appears I'm going to be stuck in maternity pants until JT brings muffin-top back.

This breastfeeding "diet" isn't working anymore!